July 25, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
Bruce Massey Reports:
On Sunday I was down to visit the Hearn Generating Station in an effort to re-sight Peter and Angela in the territory. When I arrived, I scanned all of the usual ledges that they roost on and found Peter on the stack. He made several forays from this location and each time returned to the territory. I carefully checked the ledge that they were last seen incubating on and there was no sign of Angela or any young. I made my way back around to an area that affords me a view of the north side of the plant but was unable to locate Angela or any other peregrine in that view. I can say for certain though that Peter was the male on site today holding the territory as evidenced by a scope view of his band. Later this week, one of our watchers in the area reported that both Peter and Angela are visible again on the south side of the main building but that they believe the pair has again failed in their efforts to produce young this year. It was good to hear that the pair is still on territory and maintaining the site and we look forward to them finding the perfect ledge next year for successfully hatching offspring. We will continue to check in on them throughout the year so watch for updates to come.
Posted on July 25, 2013 8:53 am
July 05, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
Mark Nash Reports:
June 29th and July 5th -2013
Sorry for the lack of updates and postings as we have still been in the field on the watch at several other nest sites and had to mobilize our available manpower and resources to other areas of most need.
As you know, there is only so many of us that are actually mobile with vehicles and the ability to get around to the many nest sites to do a physical check,, and given that we are still very back-logged with observation reports that we have yet to get posted, (most of them being delivered to us by phone call-ins) as opposed to these folks doing their own web site postings), it has as you might imagine, been a monumental task to get everything logged, written down, and eventually posted after being in the streets ourselves 16 plus hours a day. By the time many of us get home in the evenings after a 14 to 16 hour stint in the streets on the watch, finally getting home most often only arriving after 11pm, its all that most of us can do just to get something to eat and crawl into bed, knowing that 5am comes early again and we’re back out into the streets on the fledge watch for another 15 plus hours the nest day!
That being said, we are still very active doing spot checks in between the still ongoing fledge watches and the Hearn nest site has not gone unchecked.
While this is an older update (from Saturday June 1st) I combination with the most recent update from yesterday - (June 5th), both observation reports are consistent, in that it would appear that Peter and his mate have finally given up on their nesting activities, AND appear to have abandoned the site altogether.
I was personally down to Hearn on Saturday June 29th after coming from the Yellow Pages fledge watch, and spent several hours until darkness and never observed any peregrine activity at all. While not unusual for the most parts given the incredible expanse of the Hearn plant , you can usually see activity in the later evening hours just before dark during their prime hunting times, (this especially given that their is a territorial nesting pair on site). Sadly, the most recent observation report that was just received yesterday - (Friday July 5th) by one of our local watchers, confirms that there has been no activity at the nest site itself and also concludes that the pair have abandoned the site.
It is most confusing that the pair might have actually abandoned the territory altogether?? Only time will tell and we will be soon be able to ramp up our monitoring in a few days after the last of the intense fledge watches are completed. We have had to re-start a fledge watch at the Etobicoke Bloor & Islington nest site due to the re-release of little “Lizzy” that has spent the last 9 days under intensive care after colliding with a window and suffered partial paralyzes as a result of the spinal swelling.
the good news for her, is that she has been released back to her parent care in record time, and is now starting to fly again. The best news, is that both of her parents are attending and both she and one of her younger siblings have teamed up and seem inseparable together.
Obviously, any and all observations of the Hearn site is most welcomed, as we are understandably both a little confused at the recent happenings. While we often see failed nest attempts, total abandonment of the territory by a pair that have already have a real affinity to the territory is very unusual indeed.
Your assiastance is most needed to help us do some observations at this site.
Posted on July 6, 2013 1:45 pm
May 17, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
Mark Nash Reports:
May 17th - 2013
A great day indeed in the field for me today with a very successful and very productive day gathering information at several other nest sites that were on my list to visit, combined with clear sunny conditions and allot of good luck, I finished off my day at the Hearn nest site to get an update on the Peter and his new mate.
I can confirm that they are back at it, with incubation duties being observed on their second clutch of eggs, starting over in another location.
It didn’t take me long to locate Peter, (the resident adult male) who was observed on several locations on the superstructure overlooking and guarding his territory, but I must admit it did take me some time to scan the entire superstructure with my binoculars to finally locate his mate, who appeared to be down on full time incubation duties, on a horizontal steel beam tucked in behind some of the white metal wall flashing.
Shortly after I located her, (and only able to see the end of her tail and wing tips that stuck out from behind the metal flashing), Peter did eventually fly in to relieve his mate for a very short period of time. The change-over, (or changing of the guard as we say), happen very quickly,, in only a few seconds as he disappeared in behind the metal flashing from my view. Moments later after hearing the pair squawking to one another, the female suddenly appeared from behind the white metal flashing and flew off out around the building and out of my view. The entire event was over in less than six seconds!!
Needless to say, it would appear that the pair maybe once again involved in incubation activities (now for their second time,, if not their third attempt).
Stay tuned, more to come…….
Posted on May 18, 2013 1:18 pm
May 10, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
Bruce Massey Reports:
I stopped by this past Sunday to check up on Angela and Peter’s progress this nesting season. With the first two attempts at incubating eggs not having worked out, the hope was that they might yet find the perfect spot to raise young this year. When I arrived I had both adults on site and in view so it was clear from the outset that they were not incubating eggs. Peter is still vigorously defending the territory and Angela is staying close to the site. Even so, I cannot see at this time any ledge of interest or eggs being incubated. I will continue to spot check down here and report in what they pair are up to.
Posted on May 14, 2013 11:28 am
April 28, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
Bruce Massey Reports:
I was down to visit Peter and Angela on Sunday to check on their progress after they abandoned their nest last week. I found both adults in view on the main building and often times using the platform up on the back of the stack to roost and preen. Peter continues to mate with Angela but it is unclear whether they will have eggs and where. I will continue to update you on the progress of Hearn this nesting season and we hope that they pair settle on a suitable ledge soon.
Posted on April 30, 2013 11:34 am
April 23, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
Bruce Massey Reports:
Peter and Angela have been working on a clutch of two eggs in the old nest ledge that was used last year and they have struggled over the past week to ensure that both eggs were under their protective care. Of the two adults, it was Angela that was having the most difficulty arranging both eggs beneath her and often the egg closest to the edge of the ledge went uncovered outside of her wing. Peter on the other hand was all over those eggs and worked for hours to finally get them both properly beneath him.
With them having a challenging time positioning their eggs, I thought it would be prudent to head down and check on their progress and so I attended the site this past Sunday April 21st. I found the nest cavity empty and both adults off site. It wasn’t long after I arrived that the adults returned but neither of them entered the ledge to continue incubation. I attempted to find the eggs with the spotting scope but the one closest to the edge was now clearly gone. The one that was further back may have been present but I was not able to confirm its presence in the ledge. What was clear without a doubt was that this clutch was not being attended to by either adult. Peter was now showing an interest in another ledge to the left of the most recent scrape and managed to entice Angela to join him for a look. He was his usual self in defence of the territory addressing two Red Tailed hawks, a Kestrel and a Cormorant. I did witness the pair mating twice throughout my observation period indicating that they may not be done for the season quite yet but the bulk of the adults time was spent roosting and preening on the roof of the main building. At the end of the day, Peter did make a spectacular attempt at a pigeon that was flying north towards the plant. He made a direct flight out towards it and snatched the bird in mid-flight without missing a wing beat. He attempted to carry his heavy load back to the main building but Angela met him out over the yard and tried for a transfer. The pigeon was dropped and disappeared from my view and I don’t believe that it was recovered by either adult.
We certainly hope that Peter and Angela are able to sort out a good nesting location this year and settle in on a clutch this season. Last year’s success has Peter rather excited to try and we will continue to monitor and update you on their progress.
Posted on April 26, 2013 9:31 am
April 16, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
Bruce Massey Reports:
Recently I reported that the nesting pair at the Hearn Generating Station were incubating at least one egg on the rooftop of the structure. This report was supported by the photographs taken by Tracy Simpson and the observations of the female’s behaviour on the roof. After the cold, slushy and wet weather moved through a week ago, the female has since abandoned her egg on the roof and Peter, the resident male, was able to convince her that the old nest ledge offered more cover and protection from the elements.
This past weekend, Tracy and I were back down to Hearn again to check up on their progress. When we arrived, the female was in the old nest ledge and clearly incubating. From both the scope view and photographs, we could see that there was one egg lying outside of her wing unprotected and at least one egg if not two underneath her. She remained incubating for the first few hours of our observation period and made only a few feeble attempts to get the visible egg in underneath her. She is very, very nervous about something in behind her and it is most likely a piece of metal or other object that is moving in the winds. The entire time she was incubating, she was looking back into the ledge 75% of the time. Peter… …well he did what he does best, chased stuff!
Peter has matured into an incredible male and is so much like his father, Surge!! He is a fearless defender of his realm and is doing an excellent job! On Saturday, his “hit” list included two Red Tailed hawks and a Canada goose that tried to take him on! All three birds escaped unscathed but not without learning a valuable lesson in territory. Late in the afternoon, Peter arrived with much vocalization to the west of the nest ledge indicating that he brought lunch. The female emerged from the nest ledge and Peter took over right away and pulled out all the stops to try and get the “front” egg closest to the edge underneath him. It took him several tries but he was finally able to make the arrangement work and he finally had at least two eggs safely tucked away. He lay there incubating and watching all the stuff he felt he should be chasing. He would alarm call and chup for her to come back so that he could do just that but she wasn’t coming back until she was full, fluffed and folded! She preened away on the top of the building for a good 30 minutes and then was off on a hunt to the north. Just as we were about to leave, Peter couldn’t take it anymore and he was out and on the attack. A Red Tailed hawk landed on a pole to the east of the nest and Peter didn’t dive at him… …oh no… …he went straight at him! This not only shocked us but the hawk as well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one jump so high so fast!! The female watched from her perch on the roof and Peter, once done, returned to the eggs as it was still his turn.
Tracy went down on Tuesday for a follow up visit and found no one in the ledge at all. At first this was a little disquieting as she expected someone to at least be visible somewhere. After 10 minutes, both Peter and the female returned to the nest site; Peter swooping up to the ledge and the female landing on the buildings to the west. Peter sat above the eggs on the beam and called to her to take charge of their care. She was reluctant to move and was quite happy to sit up top and roost. Peter then entered the nest ledge and took over incubation for a brief period and then he was out and off… …chasing stuff. This time he was well up into some higher altitudes and was addressing another falcon! Photographs taken reveal that this appeared to be a juvenile female ( now a subadult ) that was coming way too close for Peter’s comfort. While he didn’t make an attempt to full on attack the female, he did escort her out of the airspace. The female followed Peter and then flew out of view to the south before returning just a moment later to the nest ledge. She entered and settled down on top of the scrape and once again, the “front” egg was outside of her wing. Watching her turning in the scrape you could clearly see that there was some difficulty for her in moving around as there was a few things that were restricting her movement. This may be why the ”front” egg is so hard for her to attend to. By the time Tracy left, the female had managed to wiggle herself forward enough to cover all of her eggs and was settled in for the night. A local watcher who has been very regular at the site stopped by and suggested that we give this unbanded female an official name. With thanks to our supporters for the suggestion, the Hearn female’s new official name is Angela!
We will continue to update you on the progress of Peter and Angela as incubation continues. All photos by Tracy Simpson.
Posted on April 19, 2013 1:17 pm
April 13, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
Bruce Massey Reports:
I stopped in this morning at the Hearn Generating Station for a site check on Peter and his female after a week of very wet, cold weather. Last week, the female was lying down on the roof of the main building and was definately incubating one or more eggs. It would seem that this week she has abandoned that spot and has taken Peter’s suggestion. Today she was lying down inside the old nest cavity and looking much happier and drier. While we can’t confirm how many eggs were left on the rooftop, we can say that she is on track with more and in a much better spot.
Posted on April 13, 2013 11:54 am
April 07, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
Bruce Massey Reports:
Yesterday I stopped down at the Hearn Generating Station to check in on the progress Peter is making with his new unbanded bride. When I arrived, Peter was on one of the rooftop pipes preening while the female was nowhere to be seen. I watched as Peter glanced down at the roof and discovered that in fact his female was lying down just to the right of his perch. The pair remained in their positions for the next 30 minutes and then Peter was off like a shot to the east. A Red Tailed hawk who had been roosting in a tree made a move to the air and Peter was on it in seconds. He put the hawk down on the ground before returning for some recon circling of the stack. After a half a dozen revolutions, Peter went into a power dive and swooped above the rooftop of the plant. This brought his female to her feet and he flew in for mating. The female remained on the roof top while Peter returned to the same elevation about 20 feet west of her. After 10 minutes he was again off like a shot, this time to the south. We tracked him until he was just over the marina and found him dive bombing a juvenile Harrier who was looking to get out of Dodge!! The Harrier inverted several times to meet Peter talon to talon and took the Red Tailed’s advice and grounded himself. Peter quickly returned to his lady and was back on the rooftop once more. What has us believing that she has at least one or two eggs on the roof is that she waddled back over to her initial position and then made the tail dipping motion indicative of an adult with eggs. She was about to lay down when… …you guessed it… …Peter was off like a shot again. This time we were unsure as to what had caught his eye but he was circling the stack for over 5 minutes before landing on one of the upper strobe lights.
Peter is absolutely on high red alert right now and doing an awesome job of it. To his credit he has recently downed two RT hawks and a Harrier. No fear here and on a mission!! The female’s choice of nest site is really poor. She is fully exposed to the elements and all aerial predators not to mention all the climbers around the plant such as raccoons and rats. Unfortunately the plant is not in any certified safe condition to allow access for installation of a box or any other nest substrate for her to use. We will continue to monitor the progress of this pair and talons crossed they will succeed in producing young this year.
All photos by Tracy Simpson
Posted on April 7, 2013 4:33 pm
March 27, 2013 - Toronto - Hearn Power Station
CPF Volunteer Reports:
March 27th - 2013
A quickly stop at the Hearn nest site found the two love birds involved in some courtship and copulation activities and allot of vocalization. While the resident adult male (believed to be Peter - who was the same resident adult male at Hearn from last season) tried his best to coax his new female mate to several of his chosen nesting spots, she showed absolutely no interest and remained on her roosting spot throughout most of this observation period.
While she was very receptive to his courtship advances and allowed copulation several times during this same period, she had no interest in being coaxed off her roosting spot. Peter visited at least three different potential nesting spots (including the old nest cavity / nest spot of last year), each time vocalizing to her in an attempt to draw her off her roosting spot to join him and check out the great potential nesting spots he had picked put for her, but she would have no part or interest in anything he was showing her and refused to leave her upper ledge roosting spot high up on the south ledge of the superstructure!
Clearly he was really trying really hard to coax her to these spots, but alas, he was unsuccessful in getting her to budge off her roosting spot. By dark, he had flown up to a higher elevation, perched himself himself and continued to vocalize as darkness fell.
During our observation period, he made several hi-speed hunting stoops - (both unsuccessful) and just as darkness fell, he stooped at and knocked a large female Red-tailed hawk out of the air south of the superstructure - (south east of our location), grounding it as we watched it disappeared from our view below the tall grass! A spectacular event to witness. We never did see the Red-tail come back up from the ground level! Sadly, it happen so fast (and too dark) to get a photo!
We left when it was literally to dark to see much of anything. The strong gusting cold winds and rain really made it difficult to spend anytime out of the car thus the lack of any really decent photographs.
Posted on March 28, 2013 3:29 am